New Year, New You!

Posted on : 12-31-2010 | By : tsimons | In : Health Tips, Uncategorized, Weight Loss

It is that time of year again when people take time to assess their life, look at their shortcomings and commit openly and publicly to change those things that bother them the most.

“New Year resolutions can be tricky things, “said Dr. Brian Lahmann, bariatric weight loss surgeon at Silver Cross Hospital. “However, they can enhance our lives by changing those things that hurt us, such as being overweight, but also may put undue pressure and stress on us to bring about those changes. Even small changes do not come easy and the resistance one feels to change is normal. So when evaluating those things in your life that you want to change when making your resolutions, be realistic and know what you can change.”

Dr. Lahmann says the new year can be a great starting point. It can also provide a support system with others around you who may be contemplating change as well. He recommends starting off by choosing healthy resolutions such as smoking. The first step to any resolution, especially quitting smoking is to set goals. Write down why you want to quit and if this is an another attempt at quitting, be aware of what made you fail in the past. Openly discuss your plan with everyone letting them be aware of exactly when you are quitting. This will give you not only their support but also the encouragement and understanding of those around you.

If the start of the new year is your quitting date then stick to it. Don’t taper off on the number cigarettes you smoke. Quit entirely. Get rid of cigarettes, ash trays as well as the cigarette smell in both your home and car. Also avoid places that allow smoking and try to stay away from people that do smoke.

For those who wish to make other life changing resolutions, such as cutting back on the amount you eat, set a plan for yourself as well.

“Instead of depriving your body of food and the things you enjoy, divide the amount of serving you would normally take in half,” said Susan Murray, Silver Cross registered dietitian specializing in weight loss surgery. “Try to fill up on healthy fruits and vegetables rather than chips and baked goods which are high in fat and calories.”

Eating a more healthy diet is another great way of not only keeping yourself trim but also fit. Instead of a heaping helping of eggs and sausage for breakfast, start your day off with some fruit in your cereal. Add a glass of orange juice to your routine.

Pack a healthy snack for those mid-day breaks. Instead of heading to the candy machine you will have it handy when hunger strikes.

When shopping, keep health in mind when making your selections. Hit the produce section first and work your way around the snack aisles.

If adding exercise to your life is a resolution, find an exercise that you will enjoy. Nothing will drain the spirit faster than dreading to do something. Finding something you love to do such as walking, running or using a treadmill while watching television, will help you stick to it and with it longer. Find a buddy to exercise with and share the ups and downs and support and encourage each other both emotionally and physically. Work out a program together and share in the progress.

Set realistic goals. “You may not be running the Chicago Marathon next year if you just started running, but there may be a 5K run somewhere down the line that you can handle as you work your way through your exercise program,” said Hans Schulte, exercise specialist with the Weight Loss Surgery Exercise Program at Silver Cross Hospital. “Consider walking a longer distance each week or even each month or adding more repetitions to your program. No matter how small the goal, achieving it creates a sense of success that breeds success.”

New Year resolutions can be helpful parts of our lives. Why not make it a healthy 2011 and change your life for the better this coming year. Start by attending a free weight loss surgery informational session. Programs are held every Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Specialty Care Pavilion. Click here for more information.

Couple Loses 380 Pounds after Weight Loss Surgery at Silver Cross

Posted on : 12-29-2010 | By : tsimons | In : News, Weight Loss

Amelia & Michael Kleymann after weight loss surgery at Silver Cross Hospital

After marrying in 1999 Michael and Amelia Kleymann gained a lot of weight.  At over 450 pounds, Michael suffered from joint issues and sleep apnea.  Amelia was always tired and had several health conditions including diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure, heartburn, frequent infections, stress incontinence, edema, and general pain from carrying so much weight. 

“At my heaviest I weighed 320 pounds and exercising was simply too difficult for me,” said 33-year old Amelia.  “I was very unhappy and dreaded getting up every morning.”

With unhealthy habits, Michael and Amelia realized that their chances of long-term success were better if they lost the weight together.  The couple attended a free weight loss surgery informational session at Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet with bariatric surgeon Dr. Christopher Joyce.  Dr. Joyce and his partner—Dr. Brian Lahmann, have performed over 2,000 weight loss surgeries including the first Lap-Band™ and REALIZE™ procedures in Will County.  Silver Cross is a Bariatric Center of Excellence and also a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery.

To prepare for surgery, the Kleymanns consulted with an exercise physiologist, dietitian, cardiologist, psychologist, pulmonologist, and a bariatric nurse. “We screen our patients very carefully to ensure their success and safety,” says Dr. Joyce, Medical Director of BMI Surgery at Silver Cross. 

Happy and Healthy

Since having laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery just over a year ago, the Kleymann’s have lost more than 380 pounds.  More importantly, their health has improved and their pre-existing medical conditions have disappeared.

“I realized that if I didn’t have the surgery, I wasn’t going to be able to walk,” said 41 year-old Michael who has lost 230 pounds. “I do things now that a year ago I wouldn’t have considered doing at all – like spending a day walking downtown taking pictures of Chicago. It’s almost like I’ve been set free from a prison that my body was keeping me in.”

And for Amelia life is much happier. “My outlook on life has become more positive and I’ve stopped letting my weight (or even my weight-loss) define who I am. Now, I’m in control of food, whereas before food used to completely control me,” she adds.

“Both Amelia and Michael are wonderful examples of how life-changing bariatric surgery can be,” says Dr. Joyce. “Their inspiring support for each other enabled them to adhere to the program and make healthier life choices.”

 Free Informational Session

To learn if weight loss surgery is right for you, join Drs. Joyce and Lahmann for a  free Obesity & Your Health informational sessions any Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. in the Specialty Care Pavilion at Silver Cross Hospital, 1300 Copperfield Ave., Joliet.  For more information or to register to attend, click here or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325). 

Having a Griswold Christmas?

Posted on : 12-24-2010 | By : tsimons | In : News

Then it’s good to know that the Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center is open 24/7–even on Christmas and New Year’s Day!

Located at 143rd and Bell Rd., board certified emergency medicine physicians, nurses and paramedics are standing by–ready to help.

Whether it’s because:

  • Grandma Edna slipped on the ice coming up the front walk
  • You ate too much of Aunt Betty’s famous green jello
  • Little Johnny couldn’t wait to ride that new bike (without a helmet)
  • Dad just had to fix the burnt-out lightbulb on the roof in 3 feet of snow, or
  • Grandpa Joe isn’t sure if too much “togetherness” is causing heartburn or a heart attack…–we have you covered!

No matter what the emergency, Silver Cross is just minutes away!  In fact, before you leave the house, check wait times online for both the hospital ER and the Homer Glen Emergency Care Center at We will have you back enjoying your “Christmas Vacation” in no time at all!

Eat This, Not That: Holiday Edition

Posted on : 12-20-2010 | By : tsimons | In : Health Tips, Weight Loss

While it’s the season of indulgence, it’s easy to plan a holiday meal that’s delicious AND healthy. This year, get a head start on your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, and incorporate some of these ideas into your holiday feast.

We spoke with Stanley Bielawski, Registered Dietitian & Licensed Dietition Nutrionist at Silver Cross Hospital, to get his advice on how to cook healthier during the holidays. Here are his tips:

Freshen up your classic recipes. This year lighten up the standard green bean casserole by using fresh green beans, fresh sautéed mushrooms, and caramelized onions instead of the typical canned veggie/soup/fried onion trio or throw some fresh broccoli in the mac & cheese. Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetable instead of the canned/frozen with preservatives versions can not only knock calories off your favorite dishes, but it will also boost the flavor.

Keep the skin on. The skins on potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams are high in fiber. Keep them on when making mashed or baked versions and you will instantly sneak some nutrition into a holiday favorite. Another way to serve raw fruits and veggies is to make salads. Add a few seasonal, fresh salads on the table with the other traditional side dishes to add a healthy kick to the feast. This time of year is a wonderful season for fresh pomegranate, fennel, spinach and citruses.

 Substitute. With just a few tweaks, you can take a traditional dish that might be heavy on fat or sodium and make it more healthful. For example, canola oil has nearly half the saturated fat and more healthful, unsaturated fat than other oils; use it in place of traditional vegetable oil in baked goods. Using Greek yogurt or sour cream instead of mayonnaise, cream cheese or heavy cream is also a yummy and nutritious switch. By simply switching out full fat ingredients for their lighter counterparts, you will be able to enjoy your favorite foods guilt free.

Set Limits. Enjoy the foods you really love in reasonable portions, but skip the foods you don’t. Remember to eat plenty of vegetables, some protein (think the size of your palm) and keep the smallest portions reserved for starches (mashed potatoes, corn, peas, pastas, etc.)

Don’t Drink the Calories. If you drink less egg nog and beer, you can eat more foods. Try to drink plenty of water in between holiday cocktails to help.

This time of year is about celebrating family and friends, not food. Make the celebration center around that. Enjoy your favorites, but don’t over-indulge in unhealthy foods. For more family fun & health tips, visit our YouTube page. We have compiled a playlist to guide you through this holiday season.

Coping with Cancer this Holiday?

Posted on : 12-18-2010 | By : tsimons | In : breast cancer, Health Tips, I Matter Benefits

Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean the reasons for feeling sad or depressed will go away. If you or someone close to you are in the middle of cancer treatments, it can be difficult to muster feelings of holiday cheer. We understand the challenge, so here are some tips to help.

Family togetherness and the often-unrealistic expectations of a holiday season filled with picture-perfect, joyful gatherings can cause tremendous stress for anyone, let alone a cancer survivor. Dr. Lawrence Schilder, oncologist/hematologist on staff at Silver Cross Hospital, shares his advice. “Don’t let cancer confine you. You can do anything you feel up to. On the other hand, don’t feel obligated to be festive or meet other’s expectations; do what makes you feel good.”

Here are some tips to savor the holiday season without burning out:

•Create A New Tradition

Give yourself permission avoid feeling the usual holiday pressure. That fancy get-together can go “potluck” this year by letting your guests share their favorite holiday foods. Let someone else host the meal or chose to take the party to your favorite restaurant.

•Buy gifts online

Try online shopping this year, and don’t be afraid to take advantage of a store’s gift-wrapping and direct shipping options. If you prefer a more sentimental gift, share your thoughts and feelings. Write a short note or make a phone call to let others know that you are thinking about them. Check out our I Matter ™ partners for great holiday deals as well. Remember, I Matter members receive vaulable discounts when you present your membership card.

Express Yourself

Having cancer or taking care of a loved one diagnosed with cancer is scary. It is an emotional roller-coaster ride, so don’t be afraid to express your feelings in ways that help you receive support from the important people in your life. Tears can bring a sense of relief. Laughter can be therapy. Sharing can be comforting. Let your feelings breathe by talking them over with a loved one, friend, or professional counselor. In fact, you are welcome to join us the last Tuesday of each month for a free Breast Cancer Support Group at the Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health.

“Life is a precious gift, so live each day as if it were your last. Most important, remember to celebrate the holidays and embrace those you love. After all, this is the time of year to be grateful for the warmth and joy of friendship,” adds Dr. Schilder.

And the winner is…

Posted on : 12-17-2010 | By : tsimons | In : Events, News

The tallies were ticked, the votes were counted, and the results are in.

Thank you to all of you for voting and helping us choose the winners for our Annual Christmas Tree Contest.

For MOST UNIQUE the winner is:

Homer’s Tree–Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center

For BEST THEME the winner is:

Jolly Holiday—Information Technology

And finally, the winner for MOST BEAUTIFUL is:

At Rest—Sterile Processing

New Silver Cross Hospital 75% Complete

Posted on : 12-17-2010 | By : tsimons | In : News, Uncategorized

Construction of the Silver Cross Replacement Hospital is now 75% complete and on schedule to open in late February 2012. Located at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox, the 76-acre campus will include:

“Even with the recession troubling the nation, this is an exciting time for healthcare in Will County,” said Paul Pawlak, President/CEO of Silver Cross Hospital. “The new hospital is bringing more jobs, as well as continuing quality healthcare for the region.”

Construction of the $400 million replacement hospital has already created hundreds of jobs. The impressive hospital is being built using evidence-based design, which has been proven to help in the healing process and contribute to a speedier recovery for patients. Some of the many ways that evidence-based design is being integrated into the replacement hospital is with:

  • Large, private patient rooms
  • Natural and enhanced lighting
  • Sound and noise control
  • Cheerful yet calming colors
  • Ties to nature
  • More bedside care
  • Dedicated family areas.

“The hospital’s design will allow us to enhance how we deliver care to our patients and give us the opportunity to incorporate family members into the healing process,” says Peggy Gricus, Vice President of Patient Care at Silver Cross. “In fact, patients and families will be further encouraged and supported to participate in care and decision-making at the level they choose.”

To learn more about the replacement hospital, click here.
To receive regular updates, follow-us on Twitter or Facebook.
View our Live Webcam.

Healthy Holiday Carrot Cake

Posted on : 12-15-2010 | By : tsimons | In : Health Tips

This modified recipe uses applesauce in place of half the oil, and fat-free cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese. These simple substitutions cut the fat by two-thirds and calories by one-third.

The holidays can be overwhelming for people trying to maintain good health. Even foods that sound healthy, like carrot cake, are laden with fat and sugar. This holiday, try baking this HEALTHY version adapted from

1 1/3 cups shredded carrots
3 cups water
2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup corn oil
1/2 cup applesauce
5 egg whites from large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup canned, crushed pineapple (in own juice), drained

4 ounces fat-free cream cheese spread, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch cake pan with cooking spray. Dust with a bit of flour (about 1 tablespoon) and turn the pan over to remove most of it.

In a medium saucepan, add the carrots and water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the water and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon.

In another bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat together the oil, applesauce, egg whites and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until well blended. Fold in the cooked carrots, walnuts, coconut and pineapple.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely on the cooling rack, about 1 hour. This will serve 12.

To make the frosting, using an electric mixer slowly beat the cream cheese in a small mixing bowl. Add the powdered sugar slowly and continue beating. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Mix until smooth. Frost the top and sides of the cake.

Nutrition Information:
(per serving)
Calories 390
Cholesterol 1 mg
Protein 6 g
Sodium 230 mg
Carbohydrate 63 g
Fiber 2 g
Total fat 12 g
Potassium 160 mg
Saturated fat 2 g
Calcium 36 mg
Monounsaturated fat 6 g

A Record 2,000 Weight Loss Surgeries Performed

Posted on : 12-08-2010 | By : tsimons | In : News, Weight Loss

Christopher Joyce, M.D., F.A.C.S. and Brian Lahmann M.D., F.A.C.S. , bariatric surgeons with BMI Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital, continue to be pioneers in bariatric medicine as they recently achieved the elite milestone of performing over 2,000 weight loss surgeries.

Together, they have completed over 2,000 weight loss operations including laparoscopic gastric bypass, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, and LAP-BAND™ and REALIZE™ gastric band systems.

Over the past 7 years, they have worked diligently to attain BMI Surgery and Silver Cross Hospital unique distinctions of a Bariatric Center of Excellence as well as a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery. The two organizations are dedicated to helping patients win their personal battles with obesity and enjoy happier, healthier and longer lives.

Under the care of Drs. Joyce and Lahmann, patients benefit from a multidisciplinary approach, with the help of many different departments at Silver Cross Hospital. “Patients see an exercise physiologist, dietitian, cardiologist, psychologist, pulmonologist, and a bariatric nurse to get them ready for surgery,” says Christopher Joyce, M.D., medical director with BMI Surgery. “We screen our patients very carefully to ensure their success and safety.”

“I couldn’t have found a better program,” said 33-year old Amelia Kleymann, who has lost 158 pounds in one year since her weight loss surgery. “Overall my experience with BMI Surgery and Silver Cross Hospital was amazing! I felt the staffs at BMI Surgery and the hospital were extremely focused on my post-surgical care and were truly a key in my recovery.”

BMI Surgery was the first practice in Will County to offer laparoscopic bariatric surgeries. “We prefer laparoscopic surgery because it offers the most benefits to our patients,” says Brian Lahmann, M.D., advanced laparoscopic bariatric surgeon with BMI Surgery. “Through laparoscopic procedures, patients are offered a safer method, shorter surgery and quicker recovery time, so they can return to their daily routine sooner.”

To find out more about the bariatric surgery program at Silver Cross Hospital, attend a free Obesity & Your Health informational session on both traditional and laparoscopic surgery on any Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Specialty Care Pavilion at the hospital, 1300 Copperfield Ave, in Joliet. Register to attend online or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

Unwrap the Gift of Toy Safety

Posted on : 12-08-2010 | By : tsimons | In : Health Tips, News, Uncategorized

The biggest threat to the health of children older than 1 is not a dreaded disease. It’s accidental injury. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year nearly 230,000 children suffer injuries from toys severe enough to be treated in a hospital emergency room. Nearly 40% of those injured are younger than five.

“The last thing any child or parent wants is to end up in the emergency room hurt and unable to celebrate the holidays,” says Daniel Checco, D.O., Medical Director for the 24/7 Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center in Homer Glen.

The challenge for parents is to find toys that children will enjoy and that are known to be safe.

These simple guidelines can help keep the holiday season safe for your youngsters:

  • Avoid toys that shoot or have parts that fly off.
  • Choose toys made of durable materials with no sharp edges or points.
  • Don’t give young children toys with small parts. Youngsters tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking.
  • Choose age-appropriate toys. Age labeling is provided for developmental and safety reasons.
  • Select toys to suit a child’s abilities, skill, and interest level.
  • To avoid serious ear injury, don’t buy toys that make loud or shrill noise.
  • Choose well-made stuffed animals. The eyes, noses, and other small parts should be fastened securely.
  • Never buy hobby kits, such as chemistry sets, for children younger than age 12.
  • Look for the letters “ASTM,” which indicate a toy or product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

“Parents and grandparents  just need to practice a common sense approach when purchasing age-appropriate toys for their children,” said Dr. Checco. “By simply explaining and demonstrating how to use the toys and keeping toys for older children away from younger ones, many accidents can be avoided.”

Other Tips to avoid playtime mishaps:

  • Discard packaging immediately. Sharp staples and plastic bags can cause injuries and pose safety hazards
  • Make sure children play in safe areas and, if appropriate, under supervision.
  • Make a list of safety rules and share them with your children. If your youngsters are playing with friends, remind everyone of your safety rules.
  • Inspect older toys for broken or sharp edges, loose parts, and loose strings or ribbons.

If an accident does happen, rest assured 100 Top care is nearby in the Silver Cross Hospital Emerdency Department and Free-Standing Emergency Care Center at 143rd & Bell Rd., Homer Glen.  Check wait times online before you go.